GRAND ISLAND, Neb. — Rain continued to cause problems at the Nebraska State Fair over the weekend.
With more than 10 inches of rain in the Grand Island area this month, the grass parking lots at the Fonner Park fair site have become a muddy mess, making it difficult for vehicles to get around and leading to the closing of the lots.
On the first day of the fair Friday, Grand Island received 2.22 inches of rain — a record rainfall for the day, breaking the record of 1.35 inches set in 1983.
The rain continued Saturday with more than a half-inch by 2 p.m. Outdoor morning events, such as the Nebraska Lineworkers Rodeo and the State Fair Marathon, went on as scheduled. But as the rain continued, fair officials canceled afternoon outdoor events, including the parade.
All indoor events went on as scheduled, including the Brett Eldredge concert at the Heartland Events Center.
Lightning came with the rain, forcing fair officials to move fairgoers indoors.
Fair Executive Director Lori Cox told reporters Saturday that fair officials had anticipated potential heavy rains during the event and had developed contingency plans, including hiring three companies to bring fairgoers from various off-site shuttle stops around town. Cox said the shuttle service will be running throughout the fair.
A list of stops and other updates can be found at statefair.org.
Also, parking at the Bosselman north parking lot off Locust Street at Fonner is available for $10 per vehicle from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. weekdays, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Labor Day. The public must enter the parking lot from Locust Street. Transportation will be provided from there to the fair gate.
Although fair attendance was down considerably because of the weather, Cox said that more than 9,000 people were taking advantage of the fair and that more were expected to come for the Saturday night concert and other evening events.
And the weather is expected to improve as the week goes on, according to forecasters, with the possibility of rain decreasing and only a slight chance for showers and thunderstorms heading into Labor Day weekend.
“We are Nebraska Strong,” Cox said, in reference to the indomitable spirit Nebraskans have shown during this challenging weather year. “Our fair is open for business.”